By Llewellyn H. Rockwell Jr.
People are understandably upset about the coronavirus epidemic, but if we’re not careful, an even greater danger lies ahead. Sinister forces in American political life are using the crisis to incite war with China and to stir up bad feelings towards the Chinese people. The Chinese people are in fact heroic. They are our friends, not our enemies. But the forces of evil want you to think otherwise.
Concerning the coronavirus, the key fact to remember is that we know very little about it. The worst mistake we could make is to become jittery and panicked. As Bill Sardi, an outstanding expert on health issues, has pointed out,
There are two hotspots in the world for coronavirus infections: Wuhan, China (Hubei Province) and Italy. Both of these geographic areas were grappling with tuberculosis outbreaks prior to the eruption of the mutated COVID-19 coronavirus. Strangely, coronavirus appears to spread to the rest of the world from these hotspots via airplane travel. But the infection remains in those infected and may spread within a household, but not into the community. Other geographical outbreaks must be questioned as there are too many false positive tests to confirm COVID-19 coronavirus, which at this point in time may be nothing more than a passenger virus that accompanies tubercular infections.
If Sardi is right, the main thing we can do to keep safe is to close our borders to immigrants.
Unfortunately, people are using the epidemic to stir up bad feelings toward the Chinese people, because the epidemic began in Hubei Province there. Ironically, there is evidence that the virus was really sent to China from the US. Larry Romanoff, whose “Global Research” column often uncovers items that others miss, says:
Not only did the virus not originate at the seafood market, it did not originate in Wuhan at all, and it has now been proven that it did not originate in China but was brought to China from another country. Part of the proof of this assertion is that the genome varieties of the virus in Iran and Italy have been sequenced and declared to have no part of the variety that infected China and must, by definition, have originated elsewhere.
But even if Romanoff is wrong, the epidemic was not the fault of the Chinese people. Rather, the responsibility lies with the Chinese government, which suppressed warnings by local doctors. Had these warnings been heeded, the disease could have been contained with little trouble.
Hate directed against the Chinese blocks efforts in the US to deal with the coronavirus problem. Chinese scientists have developed an efficient way to test for the virus that can process forty people in 130 minutes, instead of the 2–3-day wait for results from US tests. The US government has made no effort to get this test but instead keeps it out of the news. Instead, we hear ridiculous talk about supporting US pharmaceuticals instead of Chinese pharmaceuticals. We should be supporting free trade, so that we can get cheap drugs to US consumers. We should not help Big Pharma exploit American consumers.
Because the epidemic started in China and spread from there, hostility toward Chinese people living in the US has gone up. Chinese-owned stores have been threatened, and gun sales to Chinese who fear attacks have soared. Chinese restaurants are nearly empty.
The president’s talk about the “Chinese virus” fans the flame of ill feelings, and some fear that the government may provoke a war with China in order to distract attention from a tanking US economy. US government propaganda has spread false claims about predatory Chinese trade practices to get the American people ready for hostile action toward China. As David Stockman has observed,
Indeed, the entire intellectual property theft meme is just a scam under which the business lobbies have enlisted the FBI and other law enforcement branches to function as taxpayer-financed patent attorneys and litigants.
Provoking war with China is an incredibly dangerous policy. Eric S. Margolis, an experienced foreign policy expert, has noted: “But in a US-China war, the Chinese would be fighting almost at home. The US would have to sustain a major conflict many thousands of miles from its home ports. America is the world’s genius when it comes to logistics and mass operations, but even so great distances are punishing. It would prove a bridge too far.” The US would be the aggressor in a war with China. The South China Sea belongs to them, not to us, yet we send our ships there and insist we have a right to control what happens there. Also, a great deal of China’s industry and agriculture is privately owned, so an attack on China would be an attack on private property. Both the neocons and the nationalist “Right” want war with China. We should aim at peace instead, as Murray Rothbard and Ron Paul have taught us.
If we ignore propaganda and look at the facts, we should recognize that the Chinese people are heroes. It’s a scandal, in fact, that few Westerners are even aware, or, if they are aware, that they are not conscious, of the bloody reality that prevailed in China between the years 1949 and 1976, the years of rule by Mao Zedong.
How many died as a result of persecutions and the communist policies of Mao? Perhaps you care to guess? Many people over the years have attempted to guess. But they have always underestimated. As more data rolled in during the 1980s and 1990s, and as specialists have devoted themselves to investigations and estimates, the figures have become ever more reliable. And yet they remain imprecise. What kind of error term are we talking about? It could be as low as 40 million. It could be as high as 100 million—or more. In the Great Leap Forward from 1959 to 1961 alone, figures range between 20 million and 75 million. In the period before, 20 million. In the period after, tens of millions more.
As scholars in the area of mass death point out, most of us can’t imagine one hundred dead or one thousand. Above that, we are just talking about statistics: they have no conceptual meaning for us. And there is only so much ghastly information that our brains can absorb, only so much blood we can imagine. And yet there is more to why China’s communist experiment remains a hidden fact: it makes a decisive case against government power, one even more compelling than the cases of Russia or Germany in the twentieth century. Finally, in 1976, Mao died. Within a few months, his closest advisers were all imprisoned. And the reform began slowly at first and then gained breakneck speed. Civil liberties were restored (comparatively) and the rehabilitations began. Torturers were prosecuted. Economic controls were gradually relaxed. The economy, by virtue of human and private economic initiative, was transformed.
Having read the above, you are now in a tiny elite of people who know anything about the greatest death camp in the history of the world that China became between 1949 and 1976, an experiment in total control unlike anything other in history. Many more people today know more about China’s exploding cell phone batteries than the hundred million dead and the untold amount of suffering that occurred under communism.
When you hear complaints about the “Chinese virus” today, imagine millions in famine, with parents swapping children to eat in order to stay alive. Let’s have peace with China, not war, and let’s admire the hardworking, productive, and wonderful Chinese people.
This article was originally published at LewRockwell.com